AN assistant manager at a Stratford-upon-Avon supermarket was caught on camera as he put through bogus refunds for non-existent customers and pocketed the cash.
When he was challenged Kamil Oparcik admitted what he had done and later pleaded guilty to theft from Budgens supermarket.
Oparcik, aged 30, of Scott Close, Stratford, was sentenced at Warwick Crown Court to nine months in prison suspended for two years and ordered to do 200 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecutor Kathryn Roughton said that between November 2011 and November last year Oparcik stole a total of £6,809 from Budgens in a gross breach of trust.
He had begun work at the Stratford store in March 2011 and impressed his bosses so much that in November that year he was promoted to supervisor/ assistant manager.
His offences began shortly after that, but in November last year he asked a staff member to issue him with a voucher which, against store rules, he said he would pay for later. The employee he had asked reported the matter to their boss, Dominic Yarnold, who then looked into it and into an issue over customer refunds.
The refunds were usually for small amounts of up to a few pounds, but Mr Yarnold was concerned about a large number which had been put through for significant amounts of between £10 and £80. They could only have been put through by a supervisor—and all the suspicious ones had been on days when Oparcik was on duty.
Mr Yarnold tried to check CCTV recordings but found that the disc had been reformatted on 21st November, erasing any earlier footage.
But when he later checked recordings made since that date they showed Oparcik carrying out refund transactions when there was no customer at the till—and he could be seen putting the money into his pocket.
When challenged, Oparcik admitted the offences, saying he believed he had taken £2-3,000, but denied tampering with the CCTV system to cover his tracks, saying it had been caused by a power cut. Mrs Roughton said that in fact Oparcik, who in the final three months alone had put through 70 bogus refunds, had stolen just over £6,800.
Edward Soulsby, defending, said that Oparcik, was married with two children and a third on the way. He had a new job earning £1,000 a month net, and the family also have some benefits, but had to pay £900 a month rent.
“He has had the fright of his life. You will not see him again,” Mr Soulsby told the judge.
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